Online Commentary & Diversions updates resume next week. Off to Comic-Con tomorrow! I'll be Twittering from the show as much as I can.
• Preview: "Now Jason publishes a collection of his short, sharp works ...called Low Moon, in which his trademark anthropomorphic animals get into all sorts of trouble — including, in the story 'Emily Says Hello,' murder, revenge and sexual domination." - New York Magazine presents an exclusive five-page excerpt from Low Moon
• Review: "All of Jason’s tales in Low Moon play like a black comedy, tragic yet humorous. Maybe it’s his protagonists blank eyed stares or the fact the characters are all cute animals being put through some troubling things that give these outwardly simple and light cartoons a heavy feel. If you’re a comic fan looking for a change of pace from the tired summer/blockbuster/epic/crossover comic events then this one’s for you." - Mishka Bloglin
• Review: "What surprised me the most [about Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938]... was... how much [Hal] Foster had brought me to care about these characters... [P]erhaps for the first time ever, we’re able to see just how detailed and elaborate Foster’s art really was... More importantly, though, was how well Foster set up his pages. His layouts draw the reader across the page from one panel to the next, often culminating in a truly impressive final panel... Prince Valiant was good all along. Who knew?" - Greg McElhatton, Read About Comics
• Review: "I mean, holy. Effing. Shit... Was [Fletcher] Hanks insane or otherwise mentally handicapped? Dunno, but as editor Paul Karasik points out in his meaty introduction [to You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation!], this was a man mean enough to kick his 4-year-old son down a flight of stairs... You’ll love how much you hate [these works]; you’ll hate how much you love them." - Rod Lott, Bookgasm
• Plug: "Boy, that Prince Valiant [Vol. 1: 1937-1938] hardcover looked great, didn’t it? The color is just stunning. The stories (what I’ve read so far, at least) are fun as well, with a nice mix of realism and fantasy. I’m looking forward to future volumes, both to see how Hal Foster’s style and Val’s character develop over the years." - Tom Bondurant, Robot 6
On his blog, Tim Lane reveals the killer cover for the softcover edition of Abandoned Cars, due late '09-early '10, and hints that there may be two variant covers. Head over there for a sweet sampling of the lurid Golden Age crime comics covers that inspired this one!
• Review: "Something for everyone in this educational, humorous and borderline offensive tome. Communicated in Bagge’s trademarked bugged out style, [Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me] is a must-have for fans of incisive political commentary." - Kevin Mathews, The Power of Pop
• Review: "...Supermen! provides a concise glimpse into what the early comic books were like back when the medium was really fresh... Today’s readers will be surprised at how some of the material from a supposed more naive times really comes across rather grim and gritty... The 20 stories on view here provide an intriguing insight of where many of our modern day comic book heroes may have originated from, even if indirectly." - Kevin Mathews, The Power of Pop
Due to the somewhat obsessive nature of my link gathering, I had the idea to start calling these posts "Daily OCD: Online Commentary & Diversions." What do you think, readers? Too cutesy-poo? Offensive to sufferers of real OCD?
• List: The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon names "The Ten All-Time Best Long-Running Comics Series," with Love and Rockets Vol. I at #2 ("The best long-running and organic artistic achievement in serial comic book form... The Hernandez Brothers inspired and outworked a greatest generation of comics auteurs. Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez are each among that handful of artists who must be given serious consideration when talking about the best cartoonists working. In Love & Rockets each created fictional worlds for the ages and used them as a vehicle for enormous artistic development, lapping the majority of their peer group. One so inclined could argue with seriousness a top 25 of American graphic novels where 1/3 of the titles listed came from this series") and Acme Novelty Library at #8 ("...a mind-bending achievement... ACME punched right in the scrotum the notion that every issue of a single comic book series had to look like the others... Its primary value is that it presented [Chris] Ware's giant talent to enough of an audience to bring him thousands of hardcore fans... Ware can dream up a single-page that if it were the only thing he ever published people might still know his name")
• List: The A.V. Club's Noel Murray offers commentary on Spurge's list ("There’s no one definitive L&R storyline; it’s just story after amazing story, accumulating over the past three decades like personal correspondence. [...] Ware... turn[ed] comic books into a kind of readable sculpture...") and lobbies for the inclusion of Johnny Ryan's Angry Youth Comix
• Review: "Miss Lasko-Gross' self-caricature in her autobio stories [in A Mess of Everything] is an interesting mash-up of a typical teen with low self-esteem and that of an indignant outsider determined to make her increasingly confident voice heard -- and loudly. [...] Lasko-Gross' greatest strengths as an artist are her character design, gesture and use of body language. It's the way she stages her characters that makes looking at each page interesting... I love the touch of the exaggerated and the grotesque that she injects into her drawings, distorting faces and bodies to reflect emotional tumult." - Rob Clough
• Review: "Formerly-suppressed, entirely classic, these stories [in Blazing Combat] are all solid examples of comic storytelling and craftsmanship... [T]he teams here make things look too easy. Not surprising since we’re talking about master artists like Toth, Frazetta, Severin, Crandall and others. The stories have all aged surprisingly well... Highly recommended..." - Matt Maxwell, Robot 6
• Events: Portland, your Free Comic Book Day cup runneth over, as Andrice Arp and the other contributors to the excellent free anthology comic Bird Hurdler will be appearing at various locations throughout town -- Andrice has the full itinerary and details on her blog
• Review: 13 Milliones de Naves says Tim Lane's Abandoned Cars is "drawn with the raw precision of a compassionless physiognomist, with a style midway between Daniel Clowes and Charles Burns... removing the rubble from the shipwreck and bringing to the fore a collection of human beings in the state of abandonment... [T]his book is anything but indifferent; the realistic and stark graphic style of its author shakes with a flying kick... [T]he Lane name has many numbers to enter on the same roster as Tomine, Burns, Clowes and company." (Translated from Spanish with help from Google)
• Review: Bookgasm on Boody. The Bizarre Comics of Boody Rogers: "Each page of Boody is a delight to take in. These comics are colorful, good-natured and good-humored, full of pep and personality... Rogers definitely was ahead of his time, demonstrating more zeal for the medium than much of his contemporaries."
• Review: Rob Clough on Ho! The Morally Questionable Cartoons of Ivan Brunetti: "No other artist in the history of comics has worked out their misanthropy and self-loathing on the page quite like Ivan Brunetti... with each strip yet another needle jabbed into the eyes of his viewers. Brunetti's enormous discipline and talent as a cartoonist shines through in this collection..."
• Review: Entertainment Weekly gives Supermen! an A-, saying "Supermen!, this anthology lovingly assembled by Greg Sadowski, makes the case that these earliest endeavors by the future creators of masterworks like The Spirit, Captain America, and Plastic Man were more than crude throat-clearings — they were unfiltered manifestations of psyche, lousy with erotic charge and questionable politics."
• Review: Graphic Novel Reporter on Abandoned Cars by Tim Lane: "Abandoned Cars doesn’t arrive at a clear-cut solution to the American Myth, but Lane’s effort to understand it for himself is beautifully presented... every last detail of the book seems perfectly devised by Lane to bring the stories together and make the reader join the inner dialogue on the subject of the Great American Mythological Drama. It is a brilliant debut."
• Things to see (and buy if you're filthy rich): The Daily Cartoonist reports that the original art for the April 1, 1973 Sunday Peanuts is up for auction. Go bid, or save yourself a few thou by collecting the strip in The Complete Peanuts 1972-1973, coming this Fall
• Review: Comic Book Resources gives 4 stars to Boody. The Bizarre Comics of Boody Rogers, saying it "features some of the nuttiest comics you'll ever read... Boody Rogers presents an off-kilter world of hilarity that seems like an oft-unheralded link between the Golden Age of the newspaper strips and the underground cartoonists of the 1960s."
• Review/profile: The Oregonian says that Most Outrageous by Bob Levin is "The most challenging and thought-provoking book I read last year... unforgettable... among the great essays on human frailty," and discusses how the commercial success of The Complete Peanuts enables us to publish more challenging work
• Review: Brick Weekly says of The Lagoon by Lilli Carré, "Carré’s cartooning is purely excellent, evolving nicely from her earlier work and pulling you into a world of vividly drawn characters and lush environments" (scroll past the video game review)